Pro-tip: plan ahead

There’s a maturity cycle that tanks progress through. One of the marks of a mature, experienced tank is they know the encounters and they plan ahead. Newer tanks are usually focused on their action-bars and rune cooldowns, on the mechanics of acting. Mature tanks handle the basic threat actions without much conscious focus, and instead expand their awareness to the whole game field, and planning for what’s coming up next.

One thing paladins enjoy is a fairly consistent action of 969 to keep up the threat. Whilst DKs can definitely settle into a routine, it is generally more stabby and less flowing. Having sensible keybindings helps with flow.

Example: the arena phase in Thorim (Ulduar) can be handled by a DK if they’re not burning off all their runes, and instead keeping some in reserve for the next wave. If a DK uses up runes to overly strike the target, they’d be handicapped for the next wave with a worst-case of having to auto-attack.

Planning ahead in this scenario translates to not using up your runes, because you know they’ll be needed to get agro on the next spawn.

DKs can use blood tap and empower rune weapon as ‘get out of jail’ cards (so their big tank cooldown can still be used), but ideally you’d have planned ahead and have the appropriate rune ready to use.

The skill is balancing this conservation against the threat you need to stay ahead of the dps, thus not sitting on a rune for overly long, and the sign of maturity is balancing all these factors whilst observing the whole game field and your own health bar.

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2 comments to Pro-tip: plan ahead

  • Spinks
    Twitter: copperbird

    It’s not as planning intensive for warriors, but there are definitely times now when I know to conserve rage/ cooldowns to get ready for some event that’s about to come up. I think it is part of maturing as a tank that you get a sense of how much of a threat advantage you have, and where you can ease up on the threat generation to keep back something in reserve for picking up adds or whatever.

  • Shazear
    Twitter: Shazear

    Something I just did recently as a side project was to try out different old content ans just solo it to get a sense for balancing my own cooldowns and managing multi-mob threat.  A great example of having to change my rotation to deal with the situation was Black Morass (yes BC content).
    My normal AOE rotation to deal with the first set of adds that would spawn out of the portal would leave me run starved for later spawns.  Going solo meant that there was just my DPS.  By the end of it, I had a nice calm rotation that timed my Howling Blast, Pestilence/Blood Boils, etc, so I could pick up the spawns without worrying too much about them getting past or having to do frantically change targets because I needed to DeathGrip or Dark Command them back to me.  This same approach, like you mention for Thorim, can make a difference, for me, between a frantic fight, and a calm collected fight.  In a calm fight, I have plenty of mental cycles to keep my vision on a more broad fight rather than just dealing with the immediate mobs at hand.

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